Droughtmaster Australia Society CEO, Neil Donaldson, was given a lovely surprise on November 3, when a special presentation was held in the office to mark his 20 years of service in the role of society operations manager and CEO.
Society president, Paul Laycock, and Southern Zone director, Sharon Harms, presented Neil with a 20 years service certificate with Neil’s family and the Droughtmaster staff also in attendance.
On November 3, 1997, Neil joined the Droughtmaster Society as national operations manager with the role eventually evolving into the current title of CEO.
In his early career, as an agent for livestock agencies including Mactaggarts (which later merged with Queensland Primary Producers) and Primac, Neil was active in the livestock industry and travelled extensively as a livestock salesman throughout southern and western Queensland to branches at Wandoan, Oakey, Quilpie and Murgon.
After six years spent in Papua New Guinea with Primac’s subsidiary company New Guinea Pastoral Supplies, Neil began his employment with Primac at Theodore, which led to a position as branch manager in Eidsvold and later in Biloela.
Neil has had extensive experience in a variety of aspects of the livestock industry including the early days of CALM (now known as AuctionsPlus), he was the assistant livestock manager (Feedlots) with AMH, and a had a contract with MLA and Queensland DPI as a consultant on a number of projects.
This past work experience demonstrated that Neil was highly credentialed and suitable to take on the role of national operations manager of the Droughtmaster Society in 1997.
During the last 20 years, Neil has helped guide the society to financial stability with net assets increasing a hundredfold. Membership has increased by 70 per cent and female inventory by 82pc over the last two decades.
When asked about his time with the society, Neil said that he’s “proud of his contribution to the success of the Droughtmaster breed over the last 20 years”.
“I derive a great deal of satisfaction from the successes achieved by members and enjoy the fantastic camaraderie which is clearly evident among the members,” Neil said.
“As with any organisation there have been numerous challenges to overcome, however the last 20 years have been both exciting and enjoyable,” he said.
“Having spent almost half of my working life with the society, I can honestly say the Droughtmasters have been my “other” family.”
Society president Paul Laycock congratulated Neil on the milestone achievement in his career as CEO of the Droughtmaster Society.
“Your dedication to the breed is gratefully appreciated by the staff and members past and present,” Paul said.
Ed and Carol McCormack have been members of the society since 1969, and have an ongoing association with the society through Clonlara Droughtmasters.
Ed said he got to know Neil from when he was with Primac, and then through industry workshops he conducted involving assessment of live cattle in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“His background and experience in PNG, as a livestock agent, and in the processing industry combined with his integrity and operating efficiency made him an ideal candidate when the Droughtmaster job came along,” he said.
“I think we all appreciate the role of operations manager for a breed society is not easy, and Neil has managed to steer the society to great heights through what have not always been calm waters over the years.”
Ed said Neil’s achievement in gaining acceptance of the Droughtmaster breed as MSA eligible was the result of “hard work, his knowledge and contacts in the industry and his refusal to lie down”.
“Neil’s organisational skills have always given us confidence that any associated event will run smoothly.
“His integrity and ability to treat people equally and with respect along with his standing in the industry have helped the society enormously. Well done Neil.”
Current society patron and president from 1998 to 2007, John Gardner first met Neil in the boardroom during Neil’s final interview for his role with the society.
“When Neil started we gave him the title of operations manager as we were not sure what he would actually be doing,” John said.
“I would say the biggest challenge was the members perception of his role, several thought he should sell their bulls. I wanted him to sell the breed and let the agents sell the bulls.
John said Neil has an innate ability to communicate with a very wide selection of players in the beef industry from individual breeders to peak industry bodies and as such has a wealth of knowledge to support his role.